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National Alliance Statement on Education Next Poll

“Today’s report from Education Next finds a dip in broad public support for public charter schools. We are grateful for the report’s contributions to understanding where our vast country stands on education, and are mindful that the opinions about charter schools that matter most are the opinions of parents and students who have chosen charters schools. We know that the parents who are demanding more high-quality public school options via charter schools are considerably more satisfied with their schools than are district-school parents—reporting higher levels of satisfaction in fields ranging from teacher quality to character instruction.

“This satisfaction is why public charter schools are growing, fostering innovative classrooms, and contributing to stronger communities. Across the country, more than 300 public charter schools opened in fall 2016, contributing to the more than 6,900 charter schools serving over 3 million public school students across the country.

“The findings of Education Next’s poll seem more reflective of the unique moment we’re in. With the spotlight shone on public school choice this election year, we’ve seen a stirring up of opinion (as in all presidential election cycles, followed by a leveling off)—and we’ve also seen expensive, sustained, and coordinated campaigns to discredit charter schools, led by teachers’ unions and special interests that feel threatened by families having a choice in public school.

“Even given high parent demand, charter schools today serve just six percent of our country’s public school students. While the participants in Education Next’s survey were provided a definition of public charter schools, nothing beats knowing someone who has chosen a charter school for their family, or seeing a charter school firsthand, to truly understand what charter schools are accomplishing for students. As more people learn about the benefits of charter schools and what having public school options can do for their communities, the more interested they become. As advocates for high-quality public charter schools, our focus will continue to be on addressing the demand for charter schools in communities that are seeking high-quality public-school options.”  

About Public Charter Schools 
Public charter schools are independent, public, and tuition-free schools that are given the freedom to be more innovative while being held accountable for advancing student achievement. Since 2010, many research studies have found that students in charter schools do better in school than their traditional school peers. For example, one study by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University found that charter schools do a better job teaching low income students, minority students, and students who are still learning English than traditional schools. Separate studies by the Center on Reinventing Public Education and Mathematica Policy Research have found that charter school students are more likely to graduate from high school, go on to college, stay in college and have higher earnings in early adulthood.

About the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools 
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the public charter school movement. Our mission is to lead public education to unprecedented levels of academic achievement by fostering a strong charter sector. For more information, please visit www.publiccharters.org.